KPMG ends sponsorship of Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace

KPMG has not renewed its sponsorship of the Duke of York’s entrepreneurship initiative, Pitch@Palace.

The accountancy firm is thought to have made the decision at the end of October.

The controversy over the prince’s ties to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is understood to have been one reason behind the decision.

The accountancy and auditing firm – which is not the only company associated with Pitch@Palace – declined to make any comment on its decision.

The scheme was founded by the prince in 2014 and involves entrepreneurs competing for the chance to pitch their business ideas to influential business figures.

The project operates in 64 countries and claims to have created more than 6,300 jobs.

The palace said a full programme of Pitch@Palace events would continue. However, the organisation’s webpage listing its supporters, which previously included KPMG as well as the likes of Air Asia, Bosch, Standard Chartered, the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, Bank of China and Barclays, had been taken down.

Another partner, AstraZeneca, said it was reviewing its involvement in the scheme. A spokesman for the pharmaceutical company said: “Our three-year partnership with Pitch@Palace is due to expire at the end of this year and is currently being reviewed.”

The insurance company Aon confirmed it had asked after the BBC interview for its logo to be removed from the Pitch@Palace website, where the firm was described as a global partner. But it said that its name should never have been on the webpage in the first place as it has never been involved in the scheme in any capacity and was at a loss as to how it had been included.

Meanwhile, University of Huddersfield students passed a motion on Monday evening to lobby the prince to resign as the university’s chancellor.

The university itself said Prince Andrew’s “enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship” was a “natural fit” with its work.

The Outward Bound Trust, of which the prince is patron, said it would hold a special board meeting over the next few days for members to discuss “the issues raised” by the interview.


Peter Jones with Harry Day from the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Solihull College with HRH The Duke of York

Another charity helping young people, the Peter Jones Foundation, set up by the Dragons’ Den panellist, said of its patron: “The palace has issued an emphatic denial and we have nothing further to add to this statement.”